FINAL SUBMISSION DATE for New Applications:  MAY 18, 2021 

Due to the overwhelming response for Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund grants, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services must exercise its right to revise the due date for submission of online applications, as permitted under the terms of the grant opportunity. 

The final deadline to submit online applications is May 18, 2021, at 5 p.m., Eastern time.

Additional Updates: 

  • Online applicants whose submissions have been fully reviewed and approved should expect to receive an email beginning in early June from HyperWallet, notifying them that they will be receiving funds and asking them to select their preferred form of payment.
  • As a reminder, online applicants may check their application status at any time by logging into the application portal and will be notified when a final decision is made.  Applicants will be notified by email if additional tax information is needed and may still submit income documentation after the May 18, 2021 deadline.  However funds will be awarded on a first come first served basis to applicants that submit a complete application.

It is our honor to disburse these funds to first responders and essential workers.  We thank you for your dedicated service to the people of New York State.  

The Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund is available to support Essential Workers and First Responders. The program is designed to reimburse out-of-pocket childcare, transportation, lodging and other qualifying expenses that enabled workers to perform their duties. The funding comes from private donations from individuals, charitable trusts and businesses made during the COVID crisis, and is coordinated by the Office of Children and Family Services.

For assistance, please call (844) 679-3369 (M-F 8:30am - 4:30pm)

To begin the application process:

To help us process your application successfully, before submitting please: 

  • review all of your application information for accuracy.
  • ensure your uploaded documents are correct, complete, and easy to read.

Who Should Apply?

Essential Workers and First Responders (check the state site for a detailed list):

  • who have been employed in this position in New York State sometime between March 1, 2020 to present.
  • whose household income meets program requirements (this worksheet is available to check your income against program requirements before you apply).  
  • who have   Eligible Expenses up to $1,000 which could be reimbursed.  

One (1) person applies per household:

  • If you meet the qualifications above, please apply on behalf of your household.
  • You, your spouse, and all of your dependents who are Essential Workers or First Responders should include their expenses together on this one application.
  • If you have children or other family members who live with you but are NOT your dependents, they may complete their own separate application if they are also Essential Workers or First Responders.
  • If you have a spouse who did NOT live with you and filed a separate tax return, they may complete their own separate application if they are also an Essential Worker or First Responder.

How Can I Prepare to Apply?

You can prepare ahead by collecting some of the required documentation:

1) Proof of Income Eligibility:  your IRS 1040 Tax Form OR IRS Transcript

  • From 2019 and 2020
  • First two pages only

If needed, request a tax return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service.

2) Expense Documentation:  any available documentation you can provide for eligible expenses

Program Details

Qualifying applicants include First Responders, Health Care, and many multi-industry workers who were designated Essential Workers during the COVID-19 health emergency. Up to $1,000 is available per household. Families who earn up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level—or $125,470 for a family of four—are eligible to apply for the funds to cover expenses.

The Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund is a non-competitive application. Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and who correctly submit the required supporting documentation for income and submit eligible expense information will be awarded funds to reimburse out-of-pocket expenses they incurred to respond to COVID-19 that have not been reimbursed by another source. Awards will be made on a first come, first served basis until funding is exhausted. The maximum reimbursement amount is $1,000 per household.

Once you have submitted an application, you will receive an automated reply that it is in our system to be processed.  Due to the extremely high volume of applicants, we will not be able to give personalized updates to individuals on the status of an application while it is in process. Please log in to the site any time to check your status for updates as your application moves through the multi-level review process. Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email with your award amount, and instructions on how to access the funds.  If deemed ineligible, you also will be notified. We will distribute the funds as quickly and efficiently as possible, and your patience with this process will assist us in achieving that goal.